What Saint Thomas asks the Lord is what we are all in need of: to see Him, and touch Him to be able to recognize Him. The Sacraments come to meet this human need. The Sacraments, and the Eucharistic Celebration particularly, are signs of God’s love, the privileged ways for us to encounter Him."
Pope Francis
November 8, 2017
WORSHIP: The Intimate Encounter with Christ


By offering his living presence here at St. Mary, Jesus is our intimate companion and point of entry into the very life of the Triune God. The Church teaches that the sacraments are signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church. It is through the sacraments that divine life is given to us, and it is through the visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated that their graces are made present.

The sacraments bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1131). The laity (those who share in the priesthood of baptism) and the clergy (those who share in the priesthood of ordained ministry) celebrate the sacraments together, prepared by the Word of God and the faith that welcomes that Word. The sacraments strengthen faith and express faith, and their fruit is both personal and for the whole Church. There are seven sacraments. The Catechism of the Catholic Church categorizes them into three groups:

The Sacraments of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist)

Sacrament of Baptism
“Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites us to Christ, who died and rose, and gives us the Holy Spirit.” --Catechism of the Catholic Church 985

Through Baptism, the person is washed clean of original sin and restored to the image and likeness of God. The parish welcomes families into the St. Mary community with a preparation meeting prior to the Sacrament of Baptism of their child. At least one of the sponsors must be a practicing Catholic. For more information and to schedule a baptism, contact Fr. Michael Briese at the rectory.

Sacrament of Confirmation
“Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.” –Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1316

The Sacrament of Confirmation is conferred on candidates from our parish Confirmation preparation class by a bishop of the diocese in the Spring. For more information on Confirmation preparation, contact Mary Ellen Heinze, DRE, at 301-934-4352.

Sacrament of the Eucharist
“In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.’ ‘This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present." –Catechism of the Catholic Church 1374

First Communion is in the month of May for children in 2nd grade and above who have been prepared to receive the sacrament. For more information, contact Mary Ellen Heinze, DRE, at 301-934-4352.

Sick and homebound parishioners should call the rectory office to arrange for a visit from Fr. Michael Briese or an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

The Sacraments of Healing (Penance & Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick)

Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation
"The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship."–Catechism of the Catholic Church 1468

Men and women are in constant need of the Lord’s mercy, healing and renewal. Come experience the peace that only Christ can give as he washes away your sins, guilt and regret. Receive the grace to “go and sin no more” (Jn 8:11). If you have not been to Confession in a long time, ask the priest to help you. Wondering how to begin? Try this examination of conscience.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered on Saturdays from 4-4:45PM, or by appointment by calling Father at the rectory.

Anointing of the Sick
“By the grace of this sacrament the sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting himself more closely to Christ's Passion: in a certain way he is consecrated to bear fruit by configuration to the Savior's redemptive Passion. Suffering, a consequence of original sin, acquires a new meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus.” --Catechism of the Catholic Church 1521

The Sacrament of the Sick is offered to sick and elderly parishioners in homes, hospitals, and hospices by calling the rectory. If and when death is near, parish families may benefit from the Funeral Mass planning information found HERE.

The Sacraments at the Service of Communion (Matrimony, Holy Orders)

Sacrament of Marriage
“The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament.” --Catechism of the Catholic Church 1660

The St. Mary parish community rejoices with couples called to the Vocation of Marriage and Family. To schedule a date for your marriage, kindly contact the rectory office at least six months in advance. With Pope Francis, the Church welcomes engaged men and women to "the joy of Yes forever". 

Sacrament of Holy Orders
“Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate.” --Catechism of the Catholic Church 1536

Men of the parish who feel called to the Sacrament of Holy Orders, either as priests or deacons, are encouraged to talk to Fr. Briese for guidance and counsel. DCPriest has additional resources and support for those who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood. For information about the permanent diaconate, visit here. Women of the parish can find resources on the consecrated life here.



Letter from Rev. Keith Woods, Parish Administrator

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Prayer of thanksgiving

We give you thanks, O Lord our God, for the communion of your holy, pure and heavenly mysteries, which you have given for the good, the hallowing and the healing of souls and bodies. Amen.

-St. Basil the Great (329-379)

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